Denying the Holocaust is dangerous for society

Published: 1998-11-08

[The Daily Kansan, 8 November 1998]

I support The University Daily Kansan's decision to run an advertisement from the Committee for the Open Debate of the Holocaust (CODOH). However, those of us who know the truth about the Holocaust must respond. That is our responsibility as members of a society that places such a high value on free speech.

To evaluate the claims of the CODOH, I went to the organization's Web site ( Not only does the site propound upon this idea that gas chambers were never used, it puts forth the idea that Hitler wasn't planning the extinction of the Jewish people. The Final Solution was – according to the site – a phrase invented since his suicide. What were all the Nazi concentration camps for according to CODOH? It was simply a misuse of power, a utilization of slave labor. Genocide did not occur during World War II.

I've stood in a gas chamber in Auschwitz. I've seen part of the crematories. I spoke with a man who, as a young man, was forced to do hard labor around the camps because he was Polish. His aunt, a nurse in the S.S. Hospitals, tried to call attention to the horrible "experiments" they were performing. She sent out X-rays from the hospitals, evidence of the Nazi crimes against humanity. 

I've read the diary of one of the S.S. men in charge of Auschwitz. There is no question in my mind that this atrocity was indeed a planned genocide.

I'm confused about what the CODOH hopes an open debate will bring. Germany has been made stronger by admitting its responsibility for the Holocaust and in seeking to make some sort of reparation. By accepting the guilt, and seeking forgiveness, rather than attempting to explain things away, they have made progress. Certainly, an "enlightened" understanding of the Holocaust – by CODOH standards – benefits neither those who died nor the survivors and their children. Nobody involved in the Holocaust profits from a debate on the "genocide question." 

 The only reason that I can come up with for the CODOH to "foster open debate on the Holocaust" is that perhaps, it wants to promote the idea that the Holocaust didn't happen. That's fine. Its members have the right in America to believe whatever they choose. But we have a responsibility to evaluate its claims and speak truth. We must understand the repercussions of denying that the Holocaust occurred. It is my fear that we will forget what genocide looks like and that we, as humanity, will fail again.

Hitler's Germany labeled the Jews, the handicapped and infirm, gays, the elderly, Gypsies, and people from all around Europe who worked to save lives, as obstacles to the perfect society.

What did happen to the more than 6 million people who disappeared during World War II? Some died of disease and malnutrition in the concentration camps. Some were shot, and buried in mass graves in the woods. Some were shot and their bodies burned. Some were gassed in vans that fed the carbon monoxide back in. But the majority died in gas chambers, at each of several camps, both in Germany and Poland.

We must remember what genocide looks like.

Do not forget the horror you felt when you first learned what had happened in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Feel for the innocent people who die in our world because they are seen as an obstacle in the road to a better society.

[Neece is a Topeka sophomore in German and architecture.]

CODOH comments: This is a sincere and thoughtful letter, of a certain kind. There are many observations in it that can led to an interesting exchange.

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Lucas Neece
Title: Denying the Holocaust is dangerous for society
Sources: The Daily Kansan, 08/11/1998, University of Kansas
Published: 1998-11-08
First posted on CODOH: Nov. 6, 1998, 6 p.m.
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